Sunday, November 26, 2017

Saudi Arabian Spring

Thomas Friedman visited the Arabian peninsula recently to look into its Saudi Arab Spring into the modern world under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly called M.B.S., who tells Friedman he wants to restore a moderate Islam:
Indeed, M.B.S. instructed me: "Do not write that we are 'reinterpreting' Islam - we are 'restoring' Islam to its origins - and our biggest tools are the Prophet's practices and [daily life in] Saudi Arabia before 1979." At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, there were musical theaters, there was mixing between men and women, there was respect for Christians and Jews in Arabia. "The first commercial judge in Medina was a woman!" So if the Prophet embraced all of this, M.B.S. asked, "Do you mean the Prophet was not a Muslim?"
More power to him, if he can bring about a more tolerant Islam. I'm watching from a tolerably respectable distance. Change will be an achievement even if - to borrow from Wittgenstein - little will be achieved.

Read the entire article, "Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at Last" (NYT, November 23, 2017).

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